Joanna Sisk reflects on the loss of her parents to Covid-19. Married 47 years, Dad a truck driver and Mom a nurse, they died one minute apart in Jackson, Michigan after battling the virus. Yes, knowing they are together does make it easier to cope with the loss of both at once. Even so, Joanna shares what makes the loss much, much harder. “Like so many who have lost loved ones to the virus, Sisk says it is agonizing to hear others brush off the risk.” (Keep in mind Joanna is sharing from the fierce battleground state of Michigan—though all states have become political battlegrounds over the virus).
Specifically, Joanna said, “People were talking about it and not knowing that my parents were in the hospital, both fighting for their lives with it,” Sisk said. “I just had tears streaming down my cheeks, listening to them. Our entire family is completely devastated.”
The prophet Isaiah heard God’s word to a hurting people long ago. “Comfort, O comfort my people,” says your God. (Isaiah 40:1) The gospel of Mark does not say anything about how Jesus was born. It jumps right into Jesus’ adult ministry, pausing just long enough to mention one thing before Jesus’ ministry began. There was a man calling out in the wilderness, “prepare the way for the Lord, and make his paths straight.” (Mark 1:3) That man, John the Baptizer, “Called for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins.” (Mark 1:4)
Reading Joanna Sisk’s words about her tears, as her family heard people with no first-hand experience with Covid-19 deny its reality, reminds me we are called to comfort one another. Whenever we choose conflict over comfort in the face of pain, we desperately need to hear John the Baptist’s call to change and ask forgiveness from the God who made us.
I have no doubt Covid-19 is real and sometimes devastating. That does not mean I am exempt from needing to hear John the Baptist’s message. There have been many times in my life when I have chosen to engage in conflict instead of seeking to comfort. Making room for Jesus in our lives always means making room for Jesus to change how we live our lives. Every day we have room to grow into more compassionate, understanding, comforting people. In fact, now more than ever, the world needs Jesus’ followers to be signs of compassion, understanding and comfort.
A prayer for today: “Loving God, I seek to prepare the way for you to enter my heart. Show me where I need to change, so that I may be a sign of your compassion, understanding and comfort.”
In these trying times may you feel God’s comfort today.
Be Well and Be Blessing,